How to trick your kids into helping with the housework


Most parents drive themselves completely bonkers with repeated requests to the kids, to help with the housework. 

Reward charts require constant upkeep and total diligence, adding yet another tedious task to your workload. Yelling doesn't work and is not the most desirable of interactions to have with your children, but what to do when they just won't do their fair share?

You need to get clever, that's what. There's no harm in a little underhanded deception when it comes to tricking them into helping out.

1. Make it a competition

Brothers Jake and Matthew have never been so motivated since their parents pitted them against each other in a good-naturedly cut throat game of 'Who can do it best?' or, 'Who can do it faster?' Brilliant.

There is nothing sweeter for siblings than winning a competition against their brother or sister. This works well for things like car washing, hanging out laundry (with a few rules about the quality of hanging), weeding, mopping, and toilet scrubbing.

Who's got the most sparkling toilet? 'Meeee!' If you have only one toilet, turn it into a photo competition every few days.

2. Get this laundry hamper


Clothes on the floor, no more. Not with this nifty and appealing-to-kids Slam Dunk laundry hamper. $19.99 at

3. For vacuuming help, pretend you need a hand to move furniture

Ask them to help you move the lounge as you want to try it in a different position. Then notice Fluffy the cat's furballs, ancient crumbs and dust underneath and ask one of the kids to grab the vacuum cleaner.

Then decide you want to move the lounge back and mark my words, you'll be able to get them to vacuum the whole room and possibly, beyond. The trick of this is to mobilise them, then there'll be no stopping them... hopefully.

4. To get them to tidy, make out that you're looking for a lost sock

You probably can't see the floor in her room for piles of clothing and other bedroom detritus that becomes that way because it's been there so long it's practically at one with the carpet.

It's an overwhelming task for a youngster, and they often don't know where to start, so clear a pile into the middle of the floor saying you're looking for a lost sock (you need to have the other one so it looks like a legit search). Engage her to help you and that way, get her to put some things away as she looks.

I've used this method a few times and as long as it's not every week, they don't realise they've been tricked into doing it. Save this one for when the room looks like armageddon has hit and you can do it over several days under the guise of a search for a lost item.

We're sure you have other methods of tricking your kids into doing the housework so fess up; what are they?